By: Brandon Vickrey
Chicago, Ill. – June 8, 2018 – From the time the Midwest Collegiate League was founded in 2010, the league set out to help players hone their skills and develop their talents with hopes that those players would eventually go on to play at the next level.
When the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft hits each June, it becomes more and more evident that the league is thriving and succeeding in its mission. This year, nine current and former MCL players were selected in the MLB Draft, bringing the total number of MCL players drafted in the league’s nine-year history to 48. This year ties 2015 for the most current and former MCL players selected in the draft.
The first MCL Player off the board was Owen Miller, who hit .333 with three home runs and 23 RBIs in 28 games with the Lexington Snipes in 2015. Miller, who just completed his junior year at Illinois State, was selected in the third round by the San Diego Padres. He becomes the second-highest draft pick in MCL history behind only 2016 Milwaukee Brewers No. 5 overall pick Corey Ray. Miller bumps another former Illinois State Redbird, current St. Louis Cardinal Paul DeJong, down a spot on that list as DeJong was taken in the fourth round in 2015.
The next-highest pick this season also played in the league in 2015, as Scott Kapers appeared in 22 games with the Michigan City Lakers in 2015. He was drafted in the 17th round by the Texas Rangers following his junior season at Valparaiso.
After playing with the Bloomington Bobcats last summer, Cody Hawthorne went to the Texas Rangers in the 21st round, giving Kapers company as MCL products picked by the Rangers. Hawthorne logged 12 2/3 innings in four games with Bloomington. He just finished his redshirt freshman year at Parkland College.
Three of the top four MCL selections this year played their college ball in the Missouri Valley Conference, as Southern Illinois’ Connor Kopach was picked in the 25th round by the Seattle Mariners. Kopach led the DuPage County Hounds in batting average at .317 in 32 games in 2014.
One current MCL player was drafted as Jake Plastiak was picked in the 28th round out of Andrew High School by the San Diego Padres. The current Northwest Indiana Oilmen infielder is deciding between signing with the Padres and heading to college, where he’s signed to play at Wichita State.
Former Oilmen infielder Marshawn Taylor was drafted after leading Grambling State in batting average at .402 as a senior. He went to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 28th round. Taylor hit .260 and drove in 11 in 19 games with the Oilmen in 2016.
Reid Birlingmair was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 28th round out of UIC. He pitched for the Lexington Snipes in 2015, posting a 4.50 ERA and 1-1 record in 32 2/3 innings. Micah Coffey was taken by the Chicago White Sox in the 30th round out of Minnesota after he hit .311 with one home run and 19 RBIs in 31 games for the 2015 Joliet Admirals. Another Big Ten player rounded out this year’s MCL selections in Illinois’ Zac Taylor. A former Hound, Taylor went to the Minnesota Twins in the 36th round. He hit .387 with one home run and 15 RBIs in 24 games for the Hounds in 2015.
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